Community connector: Noblesville-based Nickel Plate Arts named Regional Arts Partner for the Indiana Arts Commission


Nickel Plate Arts is already well-established in the Hamilton County arts scene. but now, the Noblesville-based organization is having a broader reach.

Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. Eighth St., was recently named a Regional Arts Partner for Indiana Arts Commission. The designation makes the organization a partner for Region 7, which includes Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Johnson and Shelby counties.

The Indiana Arts Commission receives funding each year from the National Endowment for the Arts. The IAC then distributes the funds to arts organizations to support arts projects.

According to a press release from Nickel Plate Arts, Regional Arts Partners work alongside the IAC to promote and expand participation in the arts in Indiana. The partners provide broad local access to arts services and funding opportunities and provides services such as grant-making, information and referrals.

“There are just too many organizations and projects throughout state for (the IAC) to handle themselves, so they really need regional partners to help connect with all those partners, understand their needs, communicate the rules and regulations and just provide guidance and support throughout the granting process,” Nickel Plate Arts Executive Director Ailithir McGill said.

For the past several years, Region 7 was managed by the IAC.

“They have undergone some major personnel changes and started setting new goals for the future,” said McGill, a Noblesville resident. “They want to free themselves up for new and better projects, so they wanted to seek a new partner for Region 7 to take on those responsibilities.”

McGill said Nickel Plate Arts becoming a Region 7 partner for the IAC is a nod to the  organization’s comprehensive contributions to the arts in the past 10 years.

“They felt we were best positioned to take on this responsibility to connect with local organizations and artists and to just help them move the arts in Indiana forward to a new level,” McGill said. “It’s really an exciting nod to our leadership and a really fun opportunity for us to get to know even more partners and players in the arts in the central Indiana region.”

IAC Executive Director Miah Michaelsen said Nickel Plate Arts has a history of networking with other arts organizations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nickel Plate Arts as the new Regional Arts Partner for Region 7,” Michaelsen said. “The role of the regional partners is to work alongside the Indiana Arts Commission to promote and expand participation in the arts in Indiana. The Nickel Plate Arts team has a proven track record of forging connections and fostering community growth, and we are looking forward to partnering with them to grow local access to arts services and funding opportunities for the central Indiana region.”

McGill said Nickel Plate Arts’ services won’t change because of the partnership.

“It does hopefully allow us to open up new opportunities for artists, in that our primary role has always been as a connector,” McGill said. “We want to connect artist to opportunities. We want to connect businesses to artists and connect like-minded arts groups to get similar projects done. This gives us more opportunity to do that and to help everyone in the central Indiana region work more efficiently and effectively together.”

Nickel Plate Studio artist and Noblesville resident Rodney Reveal said he’s been a member of Nickel Plate Arts since it started nine years ago. Reveal is a painter who often uses oils or watercolors to complete realist or Impressionist paintings. Reveal paints wildlife, landscapes and structures, among other subjects.

“It’s always good to see more involvement in the arts,” Reveal said. “Our community is growing, and so keeping on top of the arts always makes the community a lot more fun to be in and to be around. It’s good to have it right here in my community.”

McGill said funding amounts change each year but hundreds of thousands of grant dollars are available for Region 7. And despite being an IAC partner, Nickel Plate Arts can still receive grants from the IAC.

“The selection process is much broader than just us,” McGill said. “There are many checks and balances in there so we can continue to receive arts operating support.”

The IAC provides funding in two categories: Art project support, which awards grants for specific arts projects across the state, and arts operating support, in which every arts organization that qualifies is awarded operating support based on the size of its operating budget and other factors.

“Art project support grants are highly competitive,” McGill said. “There’s never enough money to fund all the projects that get proposed. That is both exciting and difficult, because we really love to fund everyone who applies and just don’t have that opportunity.”

Nickel Plate Arts has previously received IAC art project support for projects such as a mural on a building in Arcadia and working with the Fishers Arts Council for holiday programming such as the Spark!Fishers Festival.

“It can range from everything from public art to art classes, even to internal projects for arts organizations,” McGill said. “It all just depends on how well the project is going to advance arts opportunity for the area.”

‘A big year’

Nickel Plate Arts Executive Director Ailithir McGill said she expects 2022 to be a significant year for the Noblesville-based arts organization.

“One of the things that made this so exciting timing-wise for us is, we are getting ready to enter into our 10th year,” McGill said.

This year also will be exciting for Nickel Plate Arts in terms of upcoming projects, according to McGill.

“We are working with the City of Noblesville with a READI (Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative) grant project,” McGill said. “Part of the READI grant proposal included mentioning us as future partner in the entertainment district on the west side of the river in downtown Noblesville.”